Monday, July 31, 2006


Some are hot, and some are.... not

Yep, you can see what I have been doing! Encoded a BUNCH more of these 78s I got in a nice haul a week or so ago. And, let me tell you, some of these were in darn near mint condition... one of them is even autographed! We'll get to those later on...

Let's start it off with another CLANKER OF THE WEEK. It is only Monday, but I think that this thing rates almost as high up as the infamous Patti Page Snowman song (shudder). But, hey, what do you expect with a title like Cornbelt Symphony. Oh, this one is CORNY alright, teeth-grittingly so. I would have to give Jack Smith & The Clark Sisters an 8.5 on the Clank-O-Meter for this one... and, have the insulin handy, too, because it is full of that cloyingly sweet high fructose corn syrup as well. Yeeargh.

The back side of this disc isn't much better, to tell you the truth. Cute, but it is a piece of Wonder Bread mexicana called Cuanto Le Gusta. Can't even get it spelled right... what were they THINKING? This side does for American-Mexican relations what Jimmy Doolittle did to Tokyo in 1942. That's right.... bomb. Why, Capitol, why?

Remember the Evelyn Knight disc a few posts ago? Well, I found some more of HER high fructose syrup-y sweetness... four sides, actually (again on the GOOD Decca shellac)... two (A Little Bird Told Me, and Brush Those Tears From Your Eyes) with a vocal group of sweater-wearing all-American boys called The Stardusters, and two (Buttons and Bows and I Know Where I'm Going) by herself, with an orchestra backing. Mannie Somebody... both tunes were from the movie "The Paleface". Another non-memorable cinematic excursion into Saturday afternoon, I'm guessing. I don't have the discography site handy, but I wonder when the Buttons and Bows side was recorded, before or after Doris Day's version. I actually kind of like Evelyn's better... sort of like Day and Knight.... OK OK, bad pun. We'll move on.

Let's stick in a little more Western pop here... this is actually one of my favorite pop western tunes, and one of my favorite recordings of same. Eddy Arnold (the Tennessee Plowboy, or so it says on the label), singing Anytime. This is a great record. Sung well, played well, recorded well, what more can I say? Hats off to RCA Victor, they did this one good. And you'll have it stuck in your head for a while, which is not a abd thing. Even the B-side, What A Fool I Was, is a good follow-on tune, a little more Western, but still a darn good number. Eddy knew how to pick 'em, I reckon.

Continuing on down Wonder Bread Lane, we have a couple of Al Goodman sides. Al occasionally swung the band fairly well, but was better known for his sweet work. These two, When I Grow Too Old To Dream and Deep In My Heart Dear, are just that, very good sweet-swing tunes. Columbia cranked out a bunch of stuff like this, just right for dancin' and romancin'.

One more sweet thing, by the master of the croon, Der Bingle. This is an older Bing, with Matty Melnick's orchestra backing him up, performing an old standard, Deep Purple. Der Bingle at his shellac-y pre-war Decca blue-poo noisy best. I was going to do up the back side of this, Stardust, but there was a groove dig in there waaaaay too bad to get a good encode. Sorry, kids, but what I have coming up will definately make up for it.

Let's shift the gears and go to a pair by Dennis Day, with Freddy Martin's ORchestra backing him. This was on a vinyl 78, one used for promotional use. These vinyl 78s got sent out to radio stations and some big retail clients. They usually didn't last too long, as the stylus tracking forces of the day (numbered in many-grams) would do a very good job of destroying the record after a few plays. Fortunately, some survived, and when found in decent shape, can result in a really nice recording. This was one of those. Dennis does a stirring rendition of J.P. Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever, and then backs it with a little novelty number called Come Into the Parlor. Cutely done, and very Irish... well at least at first, anyways.

Now, let's swing this thing a little bit.

Frankie Carle. Not known for whipping a band into a frenzy like Goodman or Prima or either of the Dorsey Brothers, but just the same, this is the SWINGINGEST version of The Glow-Worm that I have EVER heard. Columbia did a brilliant job recording this as well, because it is not too often a case where you can hear the band 'breathe' with the room acoustics. This 78 is one of them. Nice, nice, nice. And the B-side, Penguin at the Waldorf is right up there with it, both for swinging and recording quality. WOW. I love it when you get 78s that are in good enough shape and recorded well enough to show off just how GOOD a shellac disc can be.

While not in the audio quality realm of Columbia, this ARA pressing of Illinois Jacquet's band, The Jacque Rabbits, makes up for it in heavy-hitting swing. And these two sides knock back to back home runs, let me tell ya! Start off with Illinois Stomp, and you can hear just how hard the band is going at it. The B-side, Ladies' Lullaby... well, if this is a lullaby, I'd hate to hear the alarm clock! Grab on, strap in, and hold tight, this one is a killer-diller!

Just to slow it down a piece, we'll give up a Mindy Carson pair, backed by the Glenn Osser Orchestra. Mindy did these on Musicraft, a lesser-known label, but they still had some fine stuff to sell. Not all heavy hitters, but enough to keep the coffers gonig for a few years... These two are as lightly and sweetly sung as any, but Mindy has a little fun with them, fun enough to add her to my 'Keep Your Eyes Open For More' list. Pianissimo and What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For are two very very nice pieces to catch your breath with. Cutting in, please....

Our last pair for the night... Ray McKinley. He recorded these two for Majestic, the first, with Teddy Norman on the vocals, is a nice little sweet number entitled One Love. More of what Ray was known for, yes yes yes... a nice little tune, swung and swooned, and all that. But what makes this record special is the A-side (and it looks like the B-side was recorded BEFORE the A-side was, according to the matrix numbers), Down the Road A Piece. Whoa. Dissonance. Almost a be-bop boogie piece. Ray McKinley doing vocals. And then it goes into this hard, hammering, swinging, coming at you like a steam engine ready to rock off the rails, hold on Gertie! This is the REAL DEAL, kids! And (!!) it was recorded well enough for you to really get a feel of how hard this thing ROCKS.


If you want to see a larger pic of this, click here.

Sweet, huh. I thought so.

Well, this is MORE than an album-full, and should keep y'all going for a day or two. Granted, with the ELAC, I can churn these out in greater numbers than before, and I'm starting to like it better. But, I still need to get the Fons running so I can do up some sixteen-inch transcription discs I landed a couple of days ago... those will have to wait for a good while until I figure out how to get a transcription table re-rigged.

So, have a good'un, enjoy the 78s, because, more are coming!!!

Great potpourri. Bing, Illinois Jacquet and Ray McKinley were the standouts for me. But how can you go wrong with "When I Grow Too Old to Dream"? Keep mixing it up. And thank you for your dedication to clean-as-possible transfers from shellac.
It hurts to see only 1 comment for all your efforts. If it compensates, I love what you're doing. That Ray McKinley version of "Down the Road Apiece" is incredible (love to know who the guitarist was). Oh by the way, thanks also for the Eddy Arnold on that last post.
Just discovered your blog.
And it's Great!!
Very nice music,most unknown to me,but I like it very much.
Hope to see more of this sessions coming.!?

I love the Ray McKinley track too- my favourite and one I used to own. I think I left a big stack of 78's at my Dad's place and he sold them all! It's certainly different form the Chuck Berry version which came much later ofcourse.
Have just heard the Ray McKinley Down the Road Apiece - what intrigues me is that it's different from the version I'm familiar with on 78 (poss by the Will Bradley orchestra with McKinley on vocals?) and on CD. Fascinating to hear, although I think on the whole I prefer the delicacy of the version I already know. The 78, incidentally, was owned by my Scottish grandfather who may have been misled by the name into expecting something like Jimmy Shand and his accordians.
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